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Painting (MA)

José Rafael Cordeiro Mendes

José Rafael was born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1995 and lives and works in London. Prior to the RCA he received his BA at Wimbledon College of Art in 2017, where his work was selected for the Bloomberg New Contemporaries. José is the recipient of the Leverhulme Trust and the Gulbenkian Foundation Arts scholarships.


Selected group shows:

Final, not Over – again, Unit 1 Gallery, London, 2021

WIP SHOW, Royal College of Art, London, 2020

Life, Love, Labour, Brixton Beneficiary, London, 2019

Open Ended Questioning, Deptford x Fringe Festival, London, 2018

RBA Rising Stars, The Framers Gallery, London, 2018

Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2017, Block336, Brixton, London, 2018

The Ingram Young Contemporary Talent Purchase Prize, The Cello Factory, London, 2017

Fully Awake, ART PARK Glasgow at House for an Art Lover, Glasgow, 2017

Like all souls I often find myself imagining, othering myself in daydreams and points of view. Imagining locates our sensitivity at an interval, it decentres the self in the “in-between” of the subject and the longed for. Fernando Pessoa, whose own act of self-creation in writing was led in this interval or “in-betweeness”, revealed first to me this relation of human doings, between imagining and longing. Pessoa’s is a longing for otherness, to be many, to be ‘fluid, absent, inessential’, to be transitivity itself. In this sense, imagining is self-sacrificial, it is a collective rather than an individualist endeavour.

Imagination is a central concern of my research and practice as an artist, not only as a power of representation but as the means of a transsubjective approach to painting - a way of creating and inhabiting other worlds and invented subjects through visual storytelling. Here, painting provides the stage for an invented drama played out by the characters of an imagined world, picking on internal feelings and daydreams to raise questions about selfhood, memory, and the imagination. Memory and imagination are coalescent here and that is manifested in the weaving together of different times and spaces, and in the mediation between external and internal images, between fact and fiction. The figures in the work are never stable, instead there seems to be a slippery way in which things move from one state to another.

I am fascinated with an idea of painting as the material thinking that renders visible the processes of the imagination; as the midstream or line of dissolution, whose gesture performs the physical reach to the external world, and in doing so, blurs the borders between worlds, the self and the other, and between the animate and inanimate.

Medium:

Oil on linen

Size:

45x50cm

Medium:

Watercolour and Indian ink on paper

Size:

31x46cm

Medium:

Oil on canvas

Size:

60x50cm

Medium:

Oil on calico

Size:

45x60cm

Medium:

Oil on calico

Size:

46x50cm

Medium:

Oil on linen

Size:

45x40cm

The Leverhulme Trust

Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian